Banging Pots and Pans

"We're banging pots and pans
To make you understand!
It's the song I hate."
Sonic Youth, "Youth Against Fascism"

Want to get someone's attention, especially if they're sleeping? Banging pots and pans will certainly do.

Alternatively, it may be used to signal that it is time to eat. In real life, it's becoming common for women to stand up against violence by doing this, as it confronts the violent person indirectly but clearly.

Compare Trash Can Band, when this is done for music, and Paper Bag Popping. Contrast Frying Pan of Doom, which is about smacking things with pots and pans.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Osaka says that it's always been a dream of hers to wake someone up by banging on a frying pan with a spoon. She, half-asleep, attempts to do so to Yukari (but ends up leading to the Memetic "knife" scene).
  • Last Exile: Lavie wakes Claus every morning by banging a hammer against a sheet of metal.


  • In Dragon Bones, Ward uses this as a method to frighten a horse. His plan is to make the very fierce stallion run until it's exhausted, so that it becomes a bit more manageable. It works, and he eventually manages to tame the horse.
  • In Ranger's Apprentice, The Siege of Macindaw has Malcolm's people banging pots and pans as part of a distraction for the attack.

    Live Action TV 
  • In Hell's Kitchen, once a season and usually fairly early on, Chef Ramsay arranges an early morning wake-up call for the aspiring chefs, around 5 or 6 A.M. In at least one instance, the wake-up call was delivered in this form, by the sous chefs.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin bangs on a pot for two panels. His mom tells him to stop giving her a headache. In the final panel, Calvin is marking his calendar, "And a check mark for Tuesday!"
  • Garfield does this a lot to Jon.
  • Cathy learns that babysitting Zenith is headache-inducing:
    Cathy: I see. All activities lasting more than three seconds are out for you. ...Except for smashing a pan with spoons, which you can do for an hour and a half straight.

     Video Games 
  • Cook Kirby does this, in the "time to eat" variation.
  • Kellam of Fire Emblem Awakening has trouble getting others to notice him, despite wearing a giant suit of armor (everyone thinks the barracks are haunted because there's an "extra" plate at the table and things "mysteriously" appear and disappear). He resorts to this trope on at least one occasion...and Tharja still didn't see him standing right in front of her.
  • In the opening of Legia 2: Duel Saga, Nancy does this to wake Lang up.

     Western Animation 
  • This is done a lot in Looney Tunes cartoons. Many times it's in a particular order—shout, then bang pots and pans, then the One-Man Band.
  • The Simpsons: In a Flash Back to when Bart was 2 and Marge was pregnant with Lisa, we see Bart with a pot on his head, banging another pot.
    Bart: I am so great! I am so great! Everybody loves me, I am so great!
    Marge: Honey, honey, honey, honey, honey. Could you please be quiet?
    Bart: Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quiet! Quie—
    Marge: Bart, get out!
  • The Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode "Attack of the Blobs" had the main trio take shifts in taking care of an infant monster. Ickis is banging the trash can lids during his shift.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Quiet, Please!", this is one of the things Jerry does to try and wake up Spike, which will get Tom beaten up.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: As a filly, Granny Smith did this while she was being chased by timber wolves, in the hopes that it would scare them away. It actually worked, too!

     Real Life 
  • Some families celebrate New Year's by going outside at midnight and banging on pots and pans to make as much noise as humanly possible.
  • Little kids absolutely love raising hell with pots and pans like this.
  • Used as a form of protest in South America, particularly Chile and Argentina.